Tim MaCLean ’16
Through the first five weeks of the 2014 season the Merrimack football team posted a record of 2-3, scoring 30.2 points per game while allowing 29.4 on defense. Although head coach Dan Curran would probably like to see his team with a win-loss record over .500, the Warriors have played solid football to this point. Now entering the second half of the season, the team will have to produce better as a unit if they want to creep over that .500 benchmark, and if the play of the following four individuals becomes a team wide trend, they should have no trouble doing just that.
Freshman quarterback Joe Capobianco has played exceptional football through five games. Standing at 5’11, Capobianco currently ranks second in the NE-10 in both passing yards per game and passing touchdowns per game at 305.8 and 11, respectively. His best start came in a week two win at Pace. The Oceanside, N.Y. native threw for 416 yards and six touchdowns all while completing 67.6% of his passes. If he keeps producing at his current rate, Capobianco will finish the year with 3,058 yards passing and 22 touchdowns – not bad for a true freshman.
Another guy who’s off to a terrific start this year is running back Armond McRae, a junior from Nashua, N.H. McRae has racked up 84.6 yards rushing per game as well as five total touchdowns over the course of the first half of the season. Those two numbers rank second and tied for fourth in the conference, respectively. Like Capobianco, McRae also enjoyed his best day at Pace, going off for 134 yards on the ground on just eight carries. He also scored two touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Jere Brown has also been among the NE-10’s elite at his position. His average of 95.8 yards receiving per contest has been good enough to earn him the third spot in the conference rankings for that specific category. Although the Warriors ended up losing the game, Brown put up huge numbers at Stonehill. He hauled in 11 balls for a total of 165 yards and added a touchdown for good measure. Brown isn’t quite on pace to surpass the 1,186 receiving yards that he tallied during the 2013-14 season, but if he has a couple more games like the one he had at Stonehill he’ll be right back on track.
On the defensive side of things it’s been senior linebacker A.J. Roberto that has led the way for the Warriors. In addition to two sacks, Roberto has accumulated 37 tackles through the first five weeks of the season, putting him on pace to finish the year with 74. The Lynnfield, MA native has also been instrumental in securing turnovers, as his three fumble recoveries are good for first in the NE-10.
Merrimack will finish out the year at Bentley, versus Assumption, at New Haven, versus American International, and versus Southern Connecticut State. Curran and the rest of his staff just have to hope that the play of the aforementioned standouts will become infectious throughout the rest of the team. If that becomes the case, finishing the season with a winning record will become more and more of a reality.